Why the Best Fighter Pilots are Often the Biggest Failures


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‘Fail the trip.’ I said to the flying instructor who’d just flown with one of our top students.

He gave me a confused look.

I was expecting it – my demand, to him, was entirely unreasonable. We knew the student well, I’d read her flying reports from her previous two flight schools and from our own Squadron where she was learning to be a fast jet pilot in the RAF. She was excellent; her flying was above average in all respects – she was hard working and well prepared for her flights.

But there was a problem.

I’d seen it before but it was obvious to me that her instructor had not.

‘Fail her trip.’ I repeated.

‘But she flew well, it was a good sortie, she’s a great student, you know this – why should I fail it?’ he asked.

‘Have a think, brother,’ I said, ‘she’s a ‘great student’ – where’s she going to be in six months time?’


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